The tour-level breakthrough week for Alycia Parks of the United States will continue, as she reached the first Hologic WTA Tour singles final of her career by outlasting Maryna Zanevska of Belgium 6-3, 7-6(4) in the Open 6ème Sens Métropole de Lyon semifinals on Saturday.
The 22-year-old American, ranked World No.79 and contesting her first tour-level semifinal, needed 1 hour and 53 minutes to hold off 93rd-ranked Zanevska in a back-and-forth affair.
"I think the key was just staying focused, and taking my time out there," Parks said, after her win. "Every time I got ahead of myself, I would kind of lose points, so I would tell myself to slow down.
"This whole week, I'm kind of relaxed this week, and just kept playing my game and doing me."
Another career-best week at tour level extends Parks’s surge up the rankings over the past season. She has risen 120 spots in the rankings in the last 12 months, bolstered by winning two WTA 125 singles titles in December.
On Saturday, powerful forehands propelled Parks to a 5-1 first-set lead, but things got trickier as Zanevska fended off four set points in that game, and two more at 5-3. However, Parks found strong, unreturnable serves later in that game to garner and convert her seventh set point.
In the second set, Parks won eight points in a row to reach 5-4 and serve for the match, but the American could not convert two match points in that game. Zanevska then held two set points at 6-5, but an overhead winner and a sturdy serve led Parks out of danger there.
The second set was settled with a tiebreak, where another strong Parks overhead gave her a 6-4 lead and two more match points. A fierce Parks forehand set up a winning putaway to close out the match and book a spot in Sunday’s final. Parks had 13 aces in the match.
Parks will now take on local favorite and No.1 seed Caroline Garcia in Sunday's final. Garcia, the World No.5 and French No.1, cruised past Colombia's Camila Osorio 6-2, 6-2 in Saturday's second semifinal.
Garcia needed 1 hour and 12 minutes to defeat 73rd-ranked Osorio in their first meeting. Garcia had 24 winners, including seven aces, and never dropped serve in the clash.
"Definitely a good match, very solid from my side," Garcia said afterward. "Every day I feel more comfortable and enjoying more the atmosphere at home. It’s a privilege and a chance to be able to play a final in France, and a final in my own town.
"I arrived to play my game, to be very accurate from the beginning. It’s one of the most important weapons in my game and I have to keep improving on that. [Osorio is] a tough opponent, she’s moving very well through the court. I had some tough moments, but I was able to go past [them]."
Garcia never faced a break point in the first set, reeling off four games in a row to take the opening frame. The Frenchwoman was forced to stare down four break points in the second set, but she erased each of those chances, and is now one win away from her 12th career WTA singles title.
Garcia and Parks have faced off once before, with Garcia prevailing 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 in Cincinnati qualifying in 2021.
"[Parks] has very big shots, forehand, serve," Garcia said. "Great forehand shot, very accurate, so I will have to play my best match for sure. It’s a final, we both want to get the trophy, and every point will be very important."